Take a Whiff of Elon Musk’s Ecological Paradise

Exciting news, people: Utopia is on the rise! Musk promises an “ecological paradise” for his workers in his private town.

Space Commander Elon Musk has announced that His Magnificence (i.e., him) intends to construct his very own private town on 3,500 acres of farmland near his new Tesla plant southeast of Austin, Texas. More than a town, Musk explains that he will create utopia in Texas, promising an “ecological paradise” where his Tesla workers can live and do fun things like swimming, pickleball… and paying rent to him.

The gabillionaire is certainly rich enough to erect his own Muskopolis. But, alas, the “utopia” name is already taken. Indeed, I’ve been to Utopia, Texas, a small town west of San Antonio that was founded in 1855 by (cover your ears, Elon!) Swiss Socialists. Of course, history shows that a company town is ruled by the company, not by residents (much less socialists). And Musk has made clear at Tesla, Twitter, etc. that his personal whims rule over workers, consumers, our environment… and even truth.

Which brings us to that ecological worker’s paradise he’s promising. Even as one arm of his empire was extolling his vision of a Garden of Eden situated along the beauty of the Colorado River, another arm was scheming to pollute it! Musk is asking Texas’ corporate-controlled regulators to let him use the site to dump 140,000 gallons a day of his industrial wastewater into the Colorado.

Excuse me, but that turns Elon’s ecological paradise into a fraud. Worse, it adds up to Musk pouring 50 million gallons a year of his waste into the river, fouling the main water source for dozens of towns and hundreds of farms downstream.

Musk seeks to extend the long, sordid history in our country of company-town hucksters, and his latest Texas scam is proof that we should never trust a billionaire promising us paradise.

Why Can’t Ill Seniors Get Even a Scrap of Dignity from Congress?

What’s wrong with us? Our nation’s moral compass, I mean.

I don’t like being a downer, just focusing on wrongs, but some wrongs stand out as morally abominable, such as this one. It’s about hundreds of thousands of our low-income elders who, toward the end of life (when frail and most vulnerable) find themselves cast into a part of the Medicaid system that has been deliberately structured by Congress to subject them to needless deprivations and daily indignities.

These are our loved ones with serious health problems who need long-term care in nursing homes, and two-thirds of them rely on Medicaid to cover their costs. To get this benefit, they surrender all of their income, which goes to defray their nursing home expenses. Of course, for a decent existence beyond mere survival, we all rely on a few little things that are basic to our humanity. So, Medicare authorizes each state to set a monthly “personal needs allowance,” so their elderly patients can cover their hygiene and grooming products, a book or CD, a small gift for grandchildren, a chocolate bar, etc.

Good! But then Mr. Mingy walked in. In 1987, Congress set the minimum for this allowance at a meager $30 a month — under $8 a week! Congress has not raised it in the 36 years since, and most states still provide only a pittance, despite inflation and monopoly price gouging on practically everything. So, our state and national “leaders” (who freely dole out massive corporate subsidies and tax giveaways to billionaires) are leaving ill seniors with so little spending money that they must ration their toothpaste and scrimp pennies to buy a rare treat from the vending machine.

I know this is small in the global scale of human indignities, but that makes it an even bigger moral failure for our society. It would take so little to do so much for so many.

Jim Hightower